Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Microstory 78: Self-Abandon

I’m cradling my assortment of unhealthy snacks when I look outside and see a figure start to step into my car. I’m normally religious about locking it, but since I was only going to be a second and I parked in front of the door, I figured it would be okay. What kind of crazy person steals a car from a convenience store in the middle of the day? The man takes something out of his pocket and turns the car over. He must have had a key, because it didn’t look like he hotwired it. I drop my snacks, letting the slushie spill all over the floor. As people inch away from the ever-spreading pink liquid and give me funny looks, I pad myself down, feeling the familiar sharp edges of my keys, so I know that the thief didn’t pick my pocket. “Oh my God!” I exclaim. “He’s stealing my car! Somebody stop him!” But no one does. I remember this as the bystander effect wherein nobody in a crowd helps in a crisis because each person will assume that someone else will help instead. I rush out the door and try to stop the man. As he backs up, the tires squeal, crying out their need to be replaced. I could not before see the man’s face from the tint of the windshield, but the window is down and I can see him clearly now. It’s me; from an alternate reality, or the future, or something. He looks at me like this absolutely had to happen. I let him go, because I must have had a good reason. I walk back inside to assure the bystanders that it was just my jerk brother, playing a prank.

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